limbo –

The dictionary defines limbo as

an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place.


a place or state of imprisonment or confinement.


The question then becomes how many of us and how often we feel we are in limbo.  That feeling of not knowing where you are going, which direction is the right one.  That place where we have imprisoned ourselves in our heads, unable to move on from this transitional place because we can’t sort out the thoughts racing through our minds or ebbing and tiding with each heartbeat.  


I know I am definitely one of those people who sometimes finds it easy to lose her way.   Who finds a temporary home in limbo. In that place where confusion reigns and dissatisfaction is the prevailing emotion.  When work seems to be stuck in a rut – not advancing, no longer caring or being passionate about what you do.  When you unconsciously push away those closest to you because you just don’t have the energy to deal with anyone.  When your romantic relationship seems to be on hold and you can’t tell if it is going backwards or forwards or anywhere at all.  That time when the most satisfying thing is to lie on the couch.  But I am also one of the fortunate ones.  Those wonderful people that I try to shut out because I just don’t want to deal with life.  They stand by me.  They pull me up when I don’t want to get off the couch; they hold me up when I don’t have the energy.  And then there are the loves of my life, my passions, my desires, all of those people and things who, at even the most lackadaisical of my times, are always at the back of mind.  Always there patiently waiting, as they drift through my thoughts, the remembrance of the beauty and light there past the fog. 


My limbo is primarily in the winter.  The short days and cold grey skies push me into an even greyer funk.  But as the theory of limbo promises it is just transitional.  Spring does come.  The green does return and with the promise

of all life can be.  Each extra hour of daylight, each new sprouting flower and leaf on the tree, they rouse my soul.  The clean warm air gently blowing and clearing the tangled cobwebs of thought from my head. And the promise of new tomorrows places me back on a path full of adventure and joy for life.   I can once again embrace the day to day, the amazing people in my life and a fresh vision. 


I also know that limbo will return.  It is not a stationary place or condition.  It slides in and out of my perspective.  Occasionally even returning in the middle of my favorite sunny summer days.  I can only rely on the knowledge that this mental detention is just that, a temporary detention.  And like the naughty child held after school for talking in class, my detention will end and I will be out on the playground with the rest of kids soon.   So for all of us, the challenge becomes developing an attitude that allows our personal limbos to only be that transitional state and not a permanent confinement or imprisonment. How ready am I to face that challenge?  How ready are you?

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For anyone that has been following my blog for the last year, you know a major theme has been change and a lot of the focus has been my challenges and attempts in evaluating and trying to find direction in my life.  I had made some decisions to proceed with some pretty major changes in my life, including a move across the country.  Then, as it too often does, fate chose to intervene in my carefully laid plans. 

In the months proceeding my decision to move, I agonized over the decision, weighed all of my options and finally decided to take the leap.  I had explored job opportunities, lifestyle changes and all of the things a major move entails.  (And, having been an Army brat, I am very familiar with major moves!).  I thought I had really evaluated the impact the move would have on my kids, my friends, my general state of mind.   I still believe I did all of the right things in preparing to make the decision. I also don't regret having made the decision and putting the plan into motion.  What I did not anticipate was a major change in the economy which changed my employment prospects significantly.  While I had deeply contemplated it, I apparently also underestimated the intensity of the emotions both of my boys and I would feel at the thought of  such a dramatic separation. There was never a question that my boys would not move with me.  They live with their father, very near their grandmother, in the same neighborhood, going to the same schools with the same kids since they were in kindergarten.  So, at 18 and 16, they were not prepared to leave their lives. 


                                                     So now, I am faced with a complete reevaluation of my future plans.  The jobs that were so plentiful are now few and far between.  The tugs on my heart at the difficulty and impact my decision to uproot my life has had on my children are huge.   I had made the decision to change my life because I needed a new perspective, new surroundings, a change.  A friend pointed out recently that maybe what I needed was not so much a physical change but an emotional and mental one.  Maybe it was the actions of evaluating the options, making the decision, putting the plan in action that were what were important, not so much the actual move.  Maybe I needed to discover that I had the strength and courage within me to do those things.  And that maybe, the curve balls that fate/my higher power/karma, whatever is having the impact, are throwing my way are meant to tell me exactly that. 

I think in a large part she might be right.  There is something different about me since I have made those decisions.  It is a welcome positive change that gives me hope for whatever may come my way in the future. Now, I once again have to toil through reviewing my options and the direction my future will take.  I have not yet come to any definitive conclusions.  It is looking like I may stay here, but I may make some other changes in my life to give me the new perspective I was searching for. I may find a new environment in the form of a new house in a new neighborhood, I may start to actively pursue my interest in photography (thanks to some recent glowing compliments from a professional photographer), I may change jobs, I may start a company, I may go back to college, who knows what changes I may make.  What I do know is that whatever decisions or changes I make, I am now making them with a newly found strength, new courage, a new viewpoint.  That's a pretty fabulous feeling. 


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Learning from our decisions – a conversation with my children

What decisions have you made that you would change? And would they really have created as much of a change as you think?  Those are the questions.  The answers should be yes and maybe.  If it's not than you probably made the right decision in the first place. 

The consequences of almost all decisions, except maybe children, suicide or something that lands you in jail, can generally be changed by choosing to make a better decision now.  You also have to remember that we make decisions based on what we know and who we are at the time.  Thus, there really are few "bad" decisions, only ones that change your path in life, no matter how subtle.  The goal is to then look at the new path, decide if is the one you want to take or is there one less rocky or more scenic (unless you want rocks and urban sprawl) and begin turning towards that path.  Sometimes you may have to walk parallel to it until it merges, but with focus, faith and heart, you get on it eventually.  I'm living proof.  I made a lot of self-destructive decisions that not only impacted me but those around me.  It took a very long time and a lot of very painful soul searching to understand what I was doing and why (not to mention some good medications), but once I began to start seeing it, I was able to look at myself in a mirror again without the horror, grief and guilt I used to see.  I don't believe that any of us ever really "get there", no matter what decisions we make.  That is why life has to be lived as a joyous adventure to be explored and enjoyed.  So if you are not happy with the way some of your decisions turned out, it is up to you to decide is making the changes to the consequences of those decisions worth it to you.  If so, you begin the soul-searching that will reveal the steps you need to take to get back on the path you want to be following.  And never underestimate the power of prayer, no matter what you do or don't still believe, the stillness and quiet of unloading your soul to a higher power (yes, AA inspired, been there, done that) makes finding what you are looking for much easier.

So, the goal is to try and make understandable, well-reasoned, educated decisions, but at the times you don't, it is not the end of the world, you just have to make a decision to change your original decision.

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